Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 2,270 words.
Notes: Sam/Gene slash. Title from Crowded House's "Private Universe".
Summary: They work together well, though Sam would never say so.
Sam's a contradictory bastard simply because he has the ability to be. It seems like everything Gene says needs to be met with disagreement for the hell of it. It doesn't matter if Gene thinks he's doing the right thing --- he's invariably not, in the eyes of his disturbingly irritable DI. He wonders how and when he began craving Sam's approval. How it came to be that he lets Sam edge away at corner after corner, slowly but steadily tearing him into little pieces, only to glue them together again with stronger adhesive. Gene snatches at what small token resistances he can, but his heart isn't in it. His heart is thrumming with emotions he hasn't felt for years and he's trying not to make it too obvious, but he suspects he's halfway to failure.
They work together well, though Sam would never say so. He doesn't understand that the beauty of their push and pull is that it keeps everything steady; checks and balances, order and chaos, it's two sides of the same coin and it's exactly what the city needs to straighten it out. But Gene, when he's inclined to think about it, knows that it's what he's always needed --- someone to hold him back when he should stop but doesn't want to admit it. Someone to show him new ways of performing the same old trick. Someone to get under his skin and make him want to work his hardest again, if only to show the bloody bastard up.
Others just think that they're overly argumentative, that they're too different to work together peacefully, that they must hate each other's guts, but Sam's the best friend Gene's had since he was eight and discovered the only person he could rely on was himself, and he enjoys the rough and tumble; though not when he's nothing but right and Sam's nothing but wrong. Which, as it turns out, happens most of the time, but as it's happening, Gene's incapable of separating these moments from his mistakes. It would be more fair to say that in retrospect, he enjoys, in the moment, he's livid, but the point still stands.
The first time Sam mentions that he has a good time when they're together, Gene brushes it off with typical machismo and turns to stare out the window to conceal the upturn of his lips. The idea that Sam might finally be working his way around to thinking they've a good thing going is warming in ways it shouldn't be.
He's taken to making a mental note of everything Sam says that isn't a complaint, and so far it's a comparatively barren area of his mind, when compared with 'great City goals' and 'best titty shows', but it's filling up day by day, with things like Sam's favourite type of boiled sweet (humbug --- figures) and how he likes his bacon cooked (extra crispy with additional crisp --- of course), and the first time he wore part of a policeman's uniform (which was three.)
Gene claims he asks these things to be conversational, because stakeout is boring as piss. That he makes it a mission to know even the fine details of those on his team. And he's not lying, but he's not telling the whole truth, which is the usual way for him any day of the week as it stands.
Sam starts out being cold and economical with words, seeming to find it pointless to share anything of himself, but as the weeks pass, he gets more and more vocal; matching his persistency to dispute with freedom of information, to the point where he even initiates discussion, and Gene laps it up, drinks it in, turns it over in his mind during quiet moments; attempting to fit the puzzle pieces together.
Sometimes he comes out and surprises Sam by showing he knows something Sam thinks he shouldn't know, not remembering the time they got pissed down the Arms and he, for instance, confessed he'd always secretly wanted to be a member of the Beatles. Not much chance of that, but it was the only time Sam had ever mentioned not wanting to be a cop, wanting to be something different, someone different, and it showed a kind of longing Gene hadn't associated with Sam before; that maybe his complaints start within himself, that perhaps he grumbles so much because there's little but hatred there, deep down. Gene likes to shock Sam with how much he understands, to see Sam's widened eyes and open mouth, the way he falters in his step.
The first time Sam had proved he understood Gene (not pestering him to death over why he needed to be the one to tell Sandra Walton her son had been killed in a police shoot-out), he was just bladdered enough to sling his arm over Sam's shoulders and slur wetly into his ear, "This is why we're partners."
Sam was just bladdered enough to grin inanely at him, his whole face lighting up with boyish enthusiasm.
Gene's thankful he hadn't been drunk enough to forget it.
The second time Sam indicates he enjoys Gene's company, he has Gene pressed face-first up against the wall, his wrists crushed in a vice-like grip behind him. Any second, Gene's about to kick backwards and send Sam sprawling, but then he feels Sam's hardness against the back of his thigh and his resolve fails. Sam's getting off on their fight over 'the appropriate way to fire someone' (apparently, telling them in front of the whole of CID and calling them a graceless div with the attention span of an excitable gnat isn't it.) Gene stills, his blood thick in his veins, his tongue resting against his top teeth. Sam's still pushing into him, yanking his arms down, is either unaware he's displaying his desire, or uncaring.
"How does it feel to be the weak one now, Gene?" Sam grinds out and Gene doesn't say that it feels pretty damn good, but does roll his hips back and attempt a half-hearted struggle that results in Sam's cock nestling against his arse.
"I'm never weak when I'm with you, Sam. If anything, you make me stronger." Gene smiles when he hears the quickening of Sam's breathing, hot against his ear.
Sam releases him with a hiss and Gene turns around to see him leaning against the crates stacked high like a sentry guard of the alley, his lips wet from his tongue and his hands shaking with energy.
"Don't," Sam says, harshly.
"Don't what?" Gene asks, resting his shoulders against the bricks at his back and crossing his arms.
"Play mind games. It doesn't befit you, Guv."
Gene stares at Sam and tilts his head forward a touch, acknowledging the words even if he doesn't agree with them.
"I won't apologise," he says, and leaves it at that.
The third time, it's late and they've had three full days of working on a missing person's case that involves a twelve year old boy. Gene reckons he's done a bunk, but Sam's adamant the kid wouldn't do that without good reason. He's talked to the parents and family friends, schoolmates, Church-friends, all at least three times, and every time he's come back to the station, he's looked a little more lost, and a lot less like talking.
"We'll do a radio bit," Gene says as he hands Sam a scotch and the grateful expression he's met with makes his breath hitch. If he'd known it was that easy, he'd have suggested more resource-wasting initiatives sooner.
Sam drops, like a heavy sack of potatoes, onto Gene's sofa, and bows his head towards the ground. Gene perches on the edge of his desk and lets his gaze travel the taut line of Sam's shoulders.
"Sometimes I forget that you care about this city as much as I do," Gene says, and he means it as a compliment, although he's aware the rasp of his voice makes it sound like condemnation; that it's easy to forget Sam cares, because Sam can be the worst kind of prick.
Sam looks up, rubbing the back of his neck. "I care about the people in this city, the system itself can go shove it. You look at the sex workers on the street, and the old blokes with their bin bags of worldly possessions, the young idiots bashing each other's heads in down the pub and see colour, culture, a thriving metropolis that you're proud of. I see something that needs to be fixed. A social nightmare of racism, sexism, classism and every other bad word that ends with an 'ism' or a phobia. And I'm just one man, constantly up against --- well, you most of the time, but, 1973 the rest. And I don't know what the hell to do."
Gene gives Sam a measured, intense stare. "Your best."
Sam sighs and Gene's tempted to grab him by his collar and haul him out of the office and to the Arms, if only to get him to writhe in his grip, but he fills his glass with more whisky and tilts his head back for the smooth burn as it glides down his throat. When he rests his head forward again, he can't help but feel pity creep down his back, making him shiver.
"Your best is good enough, Sam. You make a difference, every day. It might not seem like it, but without your work, dozens of cases would fall flat on their arses with no-one giving them a second thought to offer a helping hand up."
The corner of Sam's mouth quirks and he finishes his own scotch, flourishing his glass for more.
"No," Gene says with authority. "I'm taking you home."
"Didn't know you had a DeLorean," Sam says obscurely, pushing himself away from the sofa and standing on wobbly feet. Gene wraps a hand around his arm to keep him steady.
He gazes at the point of contact, his mouth too dry and his throat constricting. "I'd never own anything French."
Sam looks from Gene's face down at the hand on his arm, and when he returns his gaze to Gene's own, his eyes are flickering with humour and something difficult to pinpoint.
Sam can be surprisingly flexible and pliant; a thought Gene would never have had were he not twisting his fingers into the sheets as Sam rides him, sweat-slick and gleaming in filtered moonlight. Sam's hair curls and his eyes glint, and his lips are a deep enough red that Gene can see it in the half-light. When Sam had muttered that he wanted to be 'on top', Gene had had entirely different ideas, but Sam's notion of control and his diverge, and he was shoved roughly onto the cot and sucked to hardness as Sam prepared himself with vaseline.
Gene's not complaining. He can't say a word. He's too full of watching Sam, of trying not to come immediately from the tight heat. And Sam may be on top in terms of position for the moment, but any minute now, Gene's planning on rolling them over and really going at it, because Sam's taking this ridiculously slowly, thigh muscles bunching as he hoists himself up and slams himself down. As if sensing his need, his barely coherent calculation, Sam increases pace, breathy grunts and closed eyes joining his quickened actions. Gene grits his teeth and drags his hands up to brace Sam's hips, fingers digging into what little flesh he can gain purchase on.
The cot's springs dig into his back as their rocking speeds up, but he's only tangentially aware of that, because he's mostly concentrating on thrusting with as much force as he can; which isn't a lot, with Sam's weight pushing down on him. He wants, in that moment, to be able to reach up and kiss Sam, but that isn't going to happen yet, so he makes do with grasping hold of Sam's cock instead, stroking up in time with Sam pressing down, rolling his thumb around the slit and spreading precome. He can't help but feel a mixture of joy and discontent when Sam comes over his torso, whole body weakening and limbs becoming dead weights. Sam pulses and clenches around him, but he's also harder to move, and Gene does roll them over; off the cot with a none-so-quiet thump and clatter.
He checks Sam's still alive --- and he is, grumbling and grousing as per usual --- and drags them into a damn near comfortable position, Sam arched underneath him on hands and knees. Like this, he finally has the power to move, and he does, hard and quick, tension in his chest building, skin drawing tight as he drives in for the final time and comes with breath-stealing force.
He rolls off and settles uncomfortably on the floor, adjusting until he has Sam in the crook of his arm, offset by one of Sam's boots digging into his thigh. He's ready to sleep, but Sam tongues the skin between his shoulder and neck and it's too distracting.
"Feeling better?" Gene asks, hoping he sounds just the right level of blasé.
"Yeah. You know what? I've realised something," Sam says, his voice low and throaty and indecently sexy, which Gene would do something about, if he weren't already worn out and used.
"What's that, then? I'm irresistible? The truth is all you really needed was a good shag after all?"
"We make a good team."
Gene grins, his hand reaching up to absentmindedly brush through Sam's hair. "Took you long enough."